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Question about upgrades of an older Pc

by xX SinSear Xx / August 28, 2009 11:23 AM PDT


I have an eMachines t3604 that I have never used, and am in need of it now because my last pc just crashed on me. The problem is that it doesn't have the features I need/want in a pc, performance wise. I can do the work of installing new parts, but when it comes to the technical stuff like compatibility of said parts, I am a total moron. I would appreciate it if somone could verify for me what I can and cannot install.

The specs for this pc can be found here:

Here's what I would like to do:

Replace current RAM (512 mb) with max. amount of RAM Possible (2gb)
Which RAM should I get? I know I need 2x 1gb modules. Will this RAM from work?

Module Size: 2GB kit (1GBx2)
Package: 240-pin DIMM
Feature: DDR2 PC2-5300
Specs: DDR2 PC2-5300 ? CL=5 ? Unbuffered ? NON-ECC ? DDR2-667 ? 1.8V ? 128Meg x 64 ?

Next, I would like to upgrade the hard drive. First, Will I be able to replace the one already in there with a 500gb HD? If not, I believe that there are extra bays for additional HDDs. Is it possible to place 2 additional 500gb HDDs in there? If so, what type can I use? IDE? SATA? I would like to place as much storage memory in there as possible. Ideally, I would like to have 3x 500gb or more HDDs in there.

Next, I would like to remove what I believe is the modem card, and use the slot that would free up to install an 2x eSata/ 2SATA VIA6421 pci card. Will I be able to do this?

Next, I would like to install a WiFi adapter to get wireless internet. Could I do this through one of the USB ports, or would I have to get a pci card for that too?

Finally, I would also like to install an extra combo USB/ 1394 Firewire card as well. Will I be able to do this also?

I also want to install 2 Dual Layer DVD burners, but I will assume that that part should be pretty simple to accomplish. However, if not I would definitely want to know that also.

I think that's all that I would like to do to the machine to bring it up to speed with what I would like to do with it. Everything els I can add will be external, but as I already have three external peripherals, I would like to make all these changes (especially the HDD) internal. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Re: upgrades
by Kees Bakker / August 28, 2009 11:26 PM PDT

I read: 1 SATA and 1 IDE connection. IDE allows 2 drives (master and slaves), so that makes 3 in total. That's not enough for 3 disks + 2 DVD-drives. If that is critical, as you say, forget about the whole operation and buy a totally new machine.

Waiting with the other answers until you decided on the above remark.


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by xX SinSear Xx / August 29, 2009 1:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: upgrades

Sorry about that. Allow me to clarify for you. There is 1 IDE port, and 4 SATA ports on the motherboard. So technically, if I am not incorrect, I have enough for 6 devices.

I think.

2 From the IDE, and 4 SATA.

Right now, there is one DVD drive connected to the IDE port, and the HDD is connected via SATA.

So I believe I have enough to support the 3 HDDs, and the 2 DL DVD +/- Rs.

I guess My next question would be What would be the best configuration? Should I connect the 2 HDDs via IDE and 1 via SATA, and then connect the 2 DVD drives via SATA as well? That would be my guess. Or should I connect the 2DVD drives via IDE, and the 3 HDDs via SATA?

Also, remember that I would also like to install an eSATA card ( Rosewill RC-212 ) that has 2 external SATA ports, and 2 internal SATA ports, as well as another IDE port. That would add 3 additional internal ports.

However, I don't really plan on using those on a regular basis so for the most part they would remain unused.

Thanks again for your help. I had posted this in another forum, and no one answered me, so I really appreciate it.

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Thanks for the clarification.
by Kees Bakker / August 29, 2009 4:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Upgrades

So 3 500 GB SATA disks and 2 IDE DVD-burners shouldn't be a problem.

A WiFi adapter can go via USB. No need to use a PCI-slot, also that's possible also. There's also a WiFi to Ethernet adapter, that you put in the existing Ethernet-port (replacing the current cable, if you have such).

A Firewire PCI card wouldn't be a problem, assuming you've got enough space and slots to add it.

So I see no issues here.


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Just a few last questions.
by xX SinSear Xx / August 29, 2009 5:32 AM PDT

What about RAM ?

I have mentioned a kit that includes 2x 1gb modules with the specs listed above, but I have found some on eBay that are less expensive described as:

1GB PC4200 DDR2 533 PC2-4200 1 GB 533MHz DESKTOP MEMORY

They are from Hong Kong, and I was wondering if they would work, or if I should just spring for the ones from crucial.

Also, I just want to make sure that I get you correctly. I should be able to replace the 120gb HDD that's in there now with a 500gb HDD?

If I replace the current HDD, what happens to the Operating System? I believe I have the restore disk that came with the computer. Is it just a matter of switching out the HDD and running the restore disk?

Again, and as always, Thanks.

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by Kees Bakker / August 29, 2009 7:40 AM PDT

Sorry, overlooked that.

PC-4200 is slower than PC-5300.
I would use the memory selector from Kingston or Crucial and buy exactly that. If you selected it the right way, it fits.

Most hard disks come with cloning software. Then you can clone the 120 GB to a 500 GB one. If not, the restore disk should work. Although you never now, it MIGHT check for the presence of 120 GB one and not bigger.

Best of luck.


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Re: On Upgrading your Emachines PC....
by RockL / August 31, 2009 1:58 AM PDT

As your first responder had said, you would porobably be better off putting your dollars into a newer and technically sound pc. Emachines and Acer typically do not have the most stable or sound motherboards and are typically destined to an early and higher failure rate. Having owned one myself and gone through that, I stripped it and used what I felt was safe to depend on (Ie: Hard drives, dvd burners, etc)

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by xX SinSear Xx / August 31, 2009 5:33 AM PDT

The computer is a brand new computer. Been used once for about a week while my main pc was being repaired. I understand what you're saying, however, It isn't logical for me to go out and buy a new pc when I have one sitting here that I can upgrade for much less. If it ever came to a point where there was a failure of some sort that could not be repaired, I could remove all the upgrades and use them again. To me, that makes cents (pun intended).

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